Fate of New Hyde Park street fair uncertain

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A girl checks out a toy from one of about 250 vendors at last year's New Hyde Park Street Fair. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

Construction from the third track expansion project in New Hyde Park may affect more than daily commuters in the near future.

At the village’s most recent board meeting, Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said that as a result of the construction, including the six-month total closure of the Covert Avenue grade crossing, the board is “seriously reconsidering” holding the village’s annual street fair.

“It would be a shame to end a tradition like this,” Montreuil said.

Hosting the street fair while nearby traffic closures are already in effect could be irresponsible, according to village officials.

The village’s annual street fair has consistently drawn thousands of residents and visitors to Jericho Turnpike, according to Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce President Jeanette Frisina.

Last year’s street fair, the village’s 23rd annual event, hosted more than 200 businesses and vendors and featured live music, entertainment and inflatable children’s rides, among other attractions.

Though no official decision has been made yet, Frisina said she hopes the event will still happen, even if it is scaled down as a result of the construction.

“We’d certainly still like to have it — if it’s feasible,” Frisina said. “It’s a tough call.”

The cancellation would stem from safety and congestion concerns, according to the board. The closure of Covert Avenue to create an underpass crossing as part of the LIRR third track expansion project would be only blocks away from Jericho Turnpike and village hall, where the street has been traditionally closed off for the fair.

The elimination of the grade crossing on Covert Avenue is one of seven grade crossings being eliminated along a 9.8-mile section of the LIRR main line under the third track project between Floral Park and Hicksville.

At a previous meeting, Montreuil told residents that the construction surrounding the closure would be unlike anything they’d seen before in the village.

Covert Avenue was temporarily closed between 1st and 2nd avenues from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 5 to Feb. 12 for preliminary third track work.

Montreuil and the board said they were open to a community dialogue on the matter.

Any official decision determining the fate of the event should wait until the date approaches, according to Frisina.

 

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